The arrival of Powder Magazine in the mailbox has always been one of my favorite things. Filled with stories of skiing and mountain culture; both stories that I know first hand, and those a world away, I’ve always been an engaged reader and member of the Powder community.
You can imagine my enthusiasm on finding three of my photos published this issue, the first photos I’ve ever had published in this great chronicle of our culture. Truly a momentous occasion in my career, and yet this is not one of those posts about how exciting it is to see my work in print. This story is about the people and place that made the images possible, and about the loss of their leader.
I was fortunate to visit Alaska Rendesvous last spring to see it in full swing. We found incredible snow, brilliant stability and weather that allowed the helis to fly 9 days out of the 10 we spent at the lodge. Our crew was an accomplished one, and Theo permitted our guide, and long time friend, Josh Pope to take us to the heaviest terrain in the Rendezvous catalog. The experience was second to none.
The interesting thing about heli skiing is that it doesn’t take long on any given day to wear out your legs or your wallet. Consequently, you spend a lot more time at the lodge than you do on the slopes. More than anything, this is why it matters where you choose to spend your time.
In the 10 days that we spent with our rented RV tethered to an extension cord in the Alaska Rendezvous Lodge parking lot, we truly began to feel at home. Theo’s daughter, Ali, who manages the business operations made us feel incredibly welcome and well taken care of. His son, Aiden, a lead guide was a constant source of entertainment as both a skier and a lover of life. The entire staff, their spouses, visitors and dogs served as an extended family to each other, and to our small group. Social barriers and skiing abilities were secondary to great company and living every moment to the fullest under Theo’s roof.
I hope to return to the Rendezvous this year. I’ve got a lot of people up there that I’d like to see. To hug, console, ski with and to raise a glass. And to do anything I can to contribute to the story that Theo started, and that his family and friends will continue to write in his honor and in his absence. Rest in peace.